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He claims he was somewhere else but his alibi witness was shaky. His court-appointed lawyer was a rookie with little experience and no match for the prosecutor, who was a real slick operator.
Judge McDover allowed him to call two jailhouse snitches who said Mace bragged about the killings in jail. The Tappacola are a tight, closemouthed bunch, very suspicious of outsiders, especially those with authority or wearing uniforms.
Plus, they are terrified of Dubose and his gang. They have been easily intimidated. And why not keep quiet? They have homes and cars, schools and health care, money for college.
Why rock the boat? If the casino is doing a little dirty business with some gangsters, who cares? Speaking up might get you shot.
Claudia McDover, age fifty-six, first elected in and reelected every six years since then. She wins her reelections by landslides.
Very bright, very driven. Her ex-husband was a big doctor in Pensacola and he was fond of young nurses. Bad divorce in which she, Claudia, got royally screwed by hubby and his gang of lawyers.
Wounded and angry, she went to law school to get revenge, but at some point said to hell with the old boy. She settled in the town of Sterling, the seat of Brunswick County, where she joined a little real estate firm.
She struggled and soon got bored with the small-town practice, and at some point her path crossed with that of Vonn Dubose.
In , after the Tappacola had voted against the casino, Claudia McDover suddenly had an interest in politics and ran for circuit court judge.
I knew none of this. I had heard of the Tappacola and read about the casino fight, but I had no interest. From all accounts, her campaign was extremely well funded and well organized and she beat the incumbent by a thousand votes.
This was , and during this time Vonn Dubose and his confederates and limited partners and offshore companies were buying large tracts of land in Brunswick County near the reservation.
A few other speculators had jumped in when it looked like the Tappacola wanted a casino, but after the first vote these guys fled the market. Vonn was more than happy to take the property off their hands.
He knew what was coming and soon had the Indian land surrounded. With Son Razko out of the way, and removed in such a dramatic fashion, the proponents won the second election.
The rest is history. Lacy pecked on her laptop and soon had a large, official photo of Judge Claudia McDover, complete with a black robe and a gavel in hand.
She had short dark hair cut in a bob, very stylish, with designer eyeglasses that dominated her face and made it difficult to read her eyes.
No smile, not a trace of warmth or humor, all business. It was hard to believe. Once the Tappacola started building the casino, Dubose started too.
His first development was a golf community called Rabbit Run, which is adjacent to the casino property. Part of the conspiracy with the Tappacola is that they stay away from golf.
They handle the gambling and amusement stuff; Dubose gets the golf and everything else. He started with eighteen holes at Rabbit Run, all the fairways lined with handsome condos.
Myers tapped the file. They will tell you that CFFX deeded at least twenty units to offshore companies. I have reason to believe Judge McDover has an interest in four, all showing ownership by foreign entities.
We are dealing with sophisticated crooks who have excellent lawyers. Rabbit Run has been very successful, even managed to weather the Great Recession.
Thanks to the casino, Dubose has plenty of cash and he likes gated communities with cookie-cutter houses and condos along the fairways.
He went from eighteen holes to thirty-six to fifty-four, and has enough land for even more. It was part of the original deal, I suppose.
The construction of the casino and the development of Brunswick County have created a ton of litigation. Zoning disputes, environmental claims, eminent domain, landowner lawsuits, and she has managed to keep herself smack in the middle of it.
Those on the side of Dubose always seem to win. She is rarely reversed on appeal. In , she and Dubose had a disagreement, not sure what it was about, but it got ugly.
It is believed that she wanted more of the skim from the casino cash. Dubose thought she was being adequately compensated. So Judge McDover closed down the casino.
Once the casino was up and running, and it was printing money from day one, the county realized it would not be getting much in the way of tax revenue.
The county felt jilted, especially after going to all the trouble of building a spanking-new four-lane highway that runs for over seven miles.
So the county pulled a fast one and convinced the state legislature to allow it to collect tolls on the new road. The Indians are happy now and the county gets a few bucks.
So when Dubose and Judge McDover had their little spat, she got a lawyer buddy to ask for an injunction on the grounds that the tollbooths were crowded and unsafe.
There might have been a couple of fender benders but nothing serious. It was completely bogus crap, but she immediately issued an injunction closing the toll road.
The casino stayed open because a few folks managed to trickle in from the back roads and such, but it was effectively shut down. This went on for six days as Vonn and Claudia waited for the other to blink.
Finally, they got on the same page, the bogus injunction was lifted, and everybody was happy. It was a pivotal moment in the history of the casino and the corruption it has created.
I thought I made that clear. He runs an organization, a small one in which the big boys are related and everybody is getting plenty of money. He tells a cousin to charter an LLC out of Bermuda and buy some acreage.
Another cousin incorporates in Barbados and trades some condos. Dubose is protected by layers of offshore shell companies. He has no profile, leaves no trail.
What could be more valuable than having a well-respected judge in your back pocket? I want to bust Judge McDover so my client can collect a small fortune for blowing the whistle.
Myers finished a beer and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. I guess your job is to find out. Lacy and Hugo exchanged quick glances.
They had been there for two hours, were starving and not sure where they would find lunch, but suddenly uncertain as to whether it was a good idea to eat on the boat.
Myers, though, was already stepping below. Three places were set at a glass-top table in the cramped galley. An air conditioner somewhere was hard at work and the air was refreshingly cool.
The smell of grilled fish hung heavy. Carlita scurried about, obviously delighted to have someone to cook for. She served a platter of fish tacos, poured sparkling water from a bottle, and asked if anyone wanted wine.
No one did, and she disappeared deeper into the cabin. Myers did not touch his food, but instead resumed his narrative. The real money in this little conspiracy is her portion of the monthly skim from the casino.
If not, there are sufficient allegations to get her removed from the bench, and probably indicted. Aside from skimming money from the casino itself, the Coast Mafia has also been responsible for many lucrative real estate developments in the vicinity of the casino , with any legal problems or challenges smoothed over by Judge McDover, who has been well paid in cash and condominiums.
In addition, the Coast Mafia stages the murder of Son Razko, a prominent anti-casino member of the Tappacola Nation, and with the help of Judge McDover makes sure that his right-hand man Junior Mace is falsely convicted of the crime.
Stoltz and Hatch begin to investigate the allegations before bringing any formal charges against Judge McDover. The leader of the Coast Mafia, Vonn Dubose, gets wind of the investigation and decides to retaliate.
Stoltz and Hatch are lured to a rural part of the Tappacola Reservation by a member of the Tappacola Nation claiming to be an employee of the casino with important information.
Driving away from the uneventful meeting, Hatch and Stoltz are deliberately struck head-on by a truck. Hugo Hatch is killed and Lacy Stoltz is badly injured.
The heavy-handed intimidation tactic that killed Hugo Hatch ends up being the undoing of the Coast Mafia, as the up-and-coming lieutenant tasked with its execution was inexperienced in such matters and left behind evidence at the scene of the crime and was also subsequently caught on video at a nearby all-night convenience store.
Gunther flies the two women to western North Carolina in a private plane. There they hide in a lakeside cabin in the mountains while the FBI punishes Vonn Dubose and his partners in crime.
Judge McDover is sentenced to 25 years in prison. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved November 7, The New York Times.
Retrieved 7 November Works by John Grisham. Murder and Injustice in a Small Town Kid Lawyer Theodore Boone: